One day during my freshmen year I was walking around campus when a woman complimented me on my book bag.
We wound up walking and talking a few blocks when she popped the question: The
Now before you think I’m a Jesus-hater, I’m not. The man had some really good ideas, but he’s not my man.
Why? Because I’m Jewish, born and raised, and I just don’t think he, or anyone for that matter, was God’s son. Or maybe we’re all God’s children, either one
works for me.
But she came up to me because of my book bag. The book bag in question has a picture of the cartoon character Zim, from the Nickelodeon show “Invader Zim.” Zim, in all his evil-alien-trying-to-take-over-the-world glory is saying “Prepare for Some Doom” on the bag.
The thing that bothered me was that the woman trying to get me to join some church thought that it was some sort of apocalyptic message rather than a silly
cartoon character saying something that I believed was just silly, not apocalyptic. It’s not like I wanted the apocalypse to come or anything, it was just my kind of
What made it even worse is that it was incredibly awkward. I told her what religion I subscribed to, I told her that while I thought that Jesus was a good
guy, he just wasn’t my kind of guy and I told her that I just wasn’t interested. She still kept trying.
All this over some dumb book bag?
Finally, I just took the pamphlets she kept trying to give to me, walked away incredibly pissed off and threw them away when she was out of sight.
I have no problems with other religions and I know I’m on a campus where organizations like Campus Crusade for Christ are everywhere, but I have a huge problem being told I have to accept Jesus into my
life. In general, I have a problem with missionaries.
I also know that I’m not the only one who hates it. There are others around campus who don’t like being cornered by someone who thinks Jesus really needs to
be in their lives. Some have even spoken out about it.
Sometimes though, you just can’t get away from whoever is stuffing bible study down your throat.
The first tactic would obviously be to try to avoid wearing things with “apocalyptic messages” or other blatant, non-Christian things on them. Clearly the missionaries are looking for people who look like they
haven’t been saved by Christ’s love yet (And I’m only focusing on Christians because they are the biggest culprits at this school, for the record).
The problem with this solution is that it restricts freedom of speech through clothing and accessories, so go along with this idea as you feel fit, but it might
help you stay under their radar.
A popular tactic of missionaries is to go around to the dorms and offer cookies and invitations to their bible study (which, by the way, has been banned in the dormitories, if any one of my readers is a culprit of this). This puts you into an awkward position, because they’ve basically got you where you can’t leave.
In this situation, it’s best to just be polite. You don’t have to take their cookies (unless you want one) and by no means is it an obligation to go their bible
study (For the record, offering free food is a popular tactic used on college students. We’re all suckers for free food). Just turn them away and explain that you’re busy with whatever excuse you want to give them.
Sometimes, your excuse is just an excuse to them to keep trying. Whether you tell them you can’t go because you’re a devout Buddhist or because you’re working during their services.
Of course, there’s always the option of being rude. I’ve used it myself when in a bad mood and while it usually gets the job done it doesn’t make all the missionaries go away. Some try to fight for your
attention or continue telling you that Jesus loves you. Usually a “sorry, I’m absolutely not interested” is enough for them to get the picture.
Then there are the fire and brimstone missionaries. These missionaries will tell you that you’re going to hell for not accepting Christ’s love and that if you
do accept him, you will not. I usually get out of the situation by staring at them funny for a moment and then walking away.
Sometimes I tell them that technically my religion doesn’t believe in a hell, which is entirely true (and I like it that way). Then again, they don’t care about my religion. They care about their religion and getting me to join it, so it doesn’t always work.
Finally, if you want, you could always educate yourself in the ways of religious hypocrisies so that you may confront the missionaries. They’re out there if you look for them, but remember that it’s their
faith and they love it as much as you might love yours. It might be fun to put down their religion, but you can respect it without insulting their religion and giving them an existential religious crisis.
In the meantime, I think I’ll just keep my Zim bag in my closet.